Big Week for Early Education

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On April 16th, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously approved the “Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law that oversees the nation’s K-12 policy.

During the three-day consideration of the bill, the HELP Committee debated and adopted over 20 amendments, including one sponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Committee, Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), that authorizes a new early education grant to states to improve early childhood education coordination, quality, and access, and would target resources for low- and moderate-income families. In addition, the Senate bill creates a new literacy program with a set-aside for early learning, 3and clarifies existing use of early education funds under Title I.

The Senate is expected to consider this legislation later this spring or during the summer.

Also, on April 14th, the Senate…

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USDA Comment Period for Child and Adult Care Food Program Deadline April 15th

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently reviewing proposed rule updates to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The CACFP is a federal program serving more than 3 million children in child care, Head Start and after school programs across the country. USDA hopes to update the CACFP program to be consistent with the national school lunch program, WIC and other food assistance programs administered by the agency.

With more science and academic reports explaining the benefits of healthy diets for children, USDA has decided to review proposed meal patterns to include a variety of fruits and vegetables. The proposed rules would update the current meal standards to reflect nutritious guidelines and menu items for participants.

As care providers, educators and community leaders, we encourage you to get involved by sharing your comments regarding the proposed rule. The science is clear, healthy nutritious meals directly impact children’s ability to learn, cognitive development, physical development, emotions and social skills.

A brief overview of the proposed rule is as follow:

  • Fat free flavored milk only
  • Disallow onsite frying
  • Breakfast cereals be allowed to conform to the WIC requirements
  • Onsite water
  • Codified family style meal service
  • Technical Assistance for providers and CACFP compliance

Get involved today by sharing your comments, support or recommendations with USDA before the April 15th comment period deadline.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs like USDA’s Food Nutrition Service (FNS) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans. Photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.